Angora goats are an ancient breed of goat; written records place the use of mohair as far back as the time of Moses. The Navajo Angora, also known as the 'Spanish', 'Traditional', or 'Heritage' Angora, are descendants of animals first imported to the United States in 1849 by Dr. James P. Davis of South Carolina. Nine goats in total were imported, a gift from the Sultan of Turkey for his teachings on cotton, some of which were crossed with native breeds. The purebred stock were later purchased by Col. Richard Peters of Atlanta, Georgia, who can be attributed to preserving the Angora goat in the United States. Several additional imports were made by various breeders over the following decades including the Chennery imports, Brown and Diehl, Hall and Harris, and C.P. Bailey and Sons Co. Eventually, these animals made their way west with the Westward Expansion. The Navajo, who already posesed flocks of Navajo Churro sheep they had acquired from the Spanish explorers, soon added these goats to their fiber producing flocks. These goats tolerated the arid west and harsh browsing conditions.
The Angora goats were selectively bred for heavier fleeces, resulting in the standard Angora animal with near head-to-toe fiber coverage. A few breeders, primarily those isolated on the Navajo Reservation in the area surrounding the Four Corners, continued to breed the traditional Angora with fiber-free face and legs. These animals were managed in near-feral conditions with minimal selection aside from the environment. They were allowed to travel to browse resulting in a very hardy animal capable of producing ample fiber with minimal intervention. Some of these animals were used in the basis of the Colored Angora Goat (see this letter written by Isa Jennings in 1987) (Letter by Isa to RJ; Letter by Linda Mercer to RJ).
The Navajo Heritage Angora has yet to be recognized for what it is- a hardy animal of historical and genetic importance. It is the goal of the IDGR-IFBR to capture these genetics for preservation through recording of animals of the Navajo Angora type.
The Navajo Angora has ample fiber coverage over its entire body, but lacks fiber coverage on its face past the forehead, ears, and legs below the hock/knee (a small amount of downy fiber on the sides of the legs is sometimes seen). The fiber should be dense with distinguishable lock structure throughout and lack of kemp fibers. Animals can be of any color or pattern. The average Navajo Angora produces 3-4lbs of mohair per shearing, being shorn twice annually.
Head- medium in length, clean cut; broad muzzle with large, open nostrils; lean, strong jaw; full, bright eyes; forehead broad between eyes; ears medium length and pendulous. Horns spaced apart arching cleanly backward and spreading away from the neck. Horns of doe lighter than buck. In profile straight to slightly convex. Fiber coverage must not extend past the forehead and should be well clear of the eyes. Smooth hair covers the face, ears, and legs. Some scant, downy fibers may be present on the sides of the lower legs.
Body- shoulders set smoothly against chest wall and withers forming a neat junction with the body; strong back appearing straight; loin and rump broad, strong, with ample width for easy kidding, slight slope from hook bones to pin bones; tail symmetrical with body. Ribs well sprung. Ample width to chest.
Legs- wide apart, squarely set, clean cut and strong with forelegs straight; hindlegs straight when viewed from behind. Feet short and straight with deep heel and level sole.
Reproductive: Bucks- testicles of ample size, smooth and freely movable within scrotum, oblong in shape. Testes of relatively equal size, well descended into scrotum with no more than a 1 inch cleft at the tip of the scrotum. Does- udder not meaty, ample size to provide adequately for multiples, even and well attached.
Fiber- Fiber growth from head to tail with fiber growth to knee, preferably pastern. Fiber is dense, lustrous, kemp free mohair of even length and fineness. Mohair is free of medulated fibers. Even in length and fineness throughout the body, locks form characteristic ringlets with reversal of twist along the length. Fiber should have adequate crimp, twist, and luster with a luxurious handle. Ideal growth of six inches in six months. Any color or pattern is acceptible with the most common colors being black (grey/blue/silver) and red (copper/fawn/dilute).
All applications for registration must be accompanied by two clear, full-body photographs with at least 4 month's fiber growth. Photos should be taken at “goat-level” showing the full profile of the goat including the feet with the animal standing on level ground. A fiber sample (2inch x 2 inch with at least one full lock) must also be submitted with the application. The fiber is best mailed by carefully rolling in tissue paper and placing into a plastic zip top bag and labeled. This sample will be retained by the IDGR-IFBR office.
Animals must be tagged, tattooed, or microchipped. Animals may be registered by number or by christened name. Animals being registered whose parents are registered with a different registry must submit copies of the parent's certificates with their application. Unregistered animals must submit a three generation pedigree. The Navajo Angora herdbook is currently open as these animals have not been previously registered. Animals being registered who are of correct type will be registered Foundation (F). After three subsequent generations, each conforming to the breed standard, the 4th generation offspring will be registered "Purebred". Incomplete applications will be charged a $3.00 incomplete application fee.
Fiber analysis: a sample of fiber with a base of 2x2 inches with a minimum of one lock (this is in addition to the sample submitted for registration). The fiber should be from the side of the animal (mid barrel). The best method for shipping fiber is to carefully roll or fold the sample in tissue paper and place in a clear plastic zip seal bag with as much air removed as possible. Please label all fiber samples and indicate the date the sample was taken and the date of the last shearing so we can estimate age of the animal and length of growth for the fiber.Fiber analysis is $15 per sample (discounts for multiples).
For more information on rules for registering goats, please see our “Registration Requirements” for naming, identification, etc.
The IDGR-IFBR reserves the right to exclude any individual animal based on its individual merit. The final decision is solely at the discretion of the IDGR-IFBR.
Evaluation of Defects:
Part 1- Slight Defects
Broken or wry tail
Part 2- Defects that could be slight to serious depending on degree
(More serious in bucks than does)
wry jaw or face
winged or loose, open shoulder
bowed front legs
closely spaced front legs, pinched heart girth
swollen stifle joints
closely spaced hind legs
close or touching hocks
malformed feet (splayed, sloping, overgrown)
narrow, shallow, or short body
Part 3- Moderate defects
swollen hocks or enlarged knees, not sufficient enough to cause lameness
Part 4- Serious Defects
under- or over-shot jaws
lameness, especially if combined with badly swollen knees and/or hocks
thin udder skin that allows seeping of milk or serum
signs of dwarfism or disproportionate body parts
excessive pigmentation on the face, ears, and horns
horns excessively curled or poorly shaped to interfere with shearing or health
complete coverage of face
horns set closer than 2 inches
kemp or medulated fiber in the fleece or backline
dull, harsh handle fleece or fibers
locks that are ropey or flat or otherwise poorly formed
excessively greasy fleece
abnormally short fleeces
variation in fineness or length over body
Part 5- disqualifications
crooked face on buck
blindness, unless the result of accident
blind primary teat on doe
lack of one or both primary teats
lack of half or functional half of udder, unless the result of mastectomy
hermaphroditism or evidence thereof, failure to breed
permanent physical defect such as naval hernia other gross physical anomaly
straight harsh hair on the neck or pole
coarse kemp type hair on the face and ears
We are working to update all our breed standards and hope to include many historical photos that we have as well as detailed histories of all our breeds. Check back soon for updates.
Breed Standard- Navajo Heritage Angora
International Goat, Sheep, Camelid Registry
(Formerly IDGR-IFBR, International Dairy Goat Registry